Rapid Review: Stretch (2014)


SYNOPSIS: A hard-luck limo driver struggling to go straight and pay off a debt to his bookie takes on a job with a crazed passenger whose sought-after ledger implicates some seriously dangerous criminals. – via IMDB

stretch patrick wilson and chris pine

GRADE 8I hadn’t actually heard much about it, but I liked the cast, and decided to give it a test. As you guys know, I am not really one for comedy or anything, but this was Patrick Wilson guys, come on! Deciding to give it a watch, I found myself laughing throughout the majority of it. What a winner. It was fast, and even though it was predictable, it was funny and witty. Chris Pine makes an uncredited appearance, yet whenever he is on screen he steals the show in a role that is so extremely uncharacteristic of him, and he makes it work. This is typically a movie of everything goes from bad to worse for our lead, Stretch. But he is desperate to make his six grand, settle his debt, and somehow start his life from scratch. Naturally, things won’t be as simple as he was hoping, but alright. Taking a shift with Stretch for the most ridiculously awful evening of chauffeur work you have ever seen is endlessly amusing. Ed Helms was very entertaining as Karl-with-a-K, who kept popping up in Stetch’s mind to have some really whack conversations and I-told-you-so moments with him. There were some awesome cameos littered throughout the movie, what with Norman Reedus, Ray Liotta and an especially bizarre chat with The Hoff, they were definitely worth being featured. Stretch was shot well, had witty dialogue, good performances, some great laughs, some hilarious sequences, some action crammed in, and was just seriously fun overall. I would highly recommend looking into this one if you like some slightly offbeat comedy.

Review: Awake (2007)

awake 2007 poster

“This is just my imagination, that’s all.”
– Clay Beresford

Sam (Jessica Alba) and Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen) share a very clandestine relationship, something that they are to keep from his mother, Lilith (Lena Olin). Clay is rich from his father’s empire and Sam is his mother’s personal assistant. Lilith is extremely possessive and overprotective of her son, who is dying from a heart condition. Clay is very close to Dr Jack Harper (Terrence Howard), his heart surgeon. Jack is part of a public hospital, and not one of the incredibly private ones that his mother would rather have him be with, though she lets him be. Lilith is furious to discover the relationship between Sam and Clay, though she ultimately has no control over it when Clay makes it evident that he wants to be with Sam, no matter what.

“I think my new heart will love you as much as my old one.” – Clay Beresford

Once Sam realises that Clay is serious and that he is with her and her alone, the two decide to elope, and Clay gets Jack involved. The couple weds and they are happy, and as if things couldn’t be better, Clay receives a phone call in the middle of the night telling him that a donor has been found. He and Sam rush to the hospital, where Jack is waiting. Naturally, Lilith is there and in full mode to contest Clay’s decision to use Jack as his doctor. She has a private heart surgeon that has worked on presidents and all sorts, and she insists that Clay stop his foolishness and use the best of the best to make sure that he comes through. Lilith and Clay argue some more, not over just Sam, but now over Jack, too. Ultimately Clay makes the decision: Jack will perform his surgery.

“He’s my friend mother, I trust him.” – Clay Beresford

However, it is in surgery when things start to go awry. Clay is under, but terrifyingly is experiencing anesthesia awareness. He is paralysed completely, though is mind is aware of each and every thing that is going on around him. The surgical pain that he is experiencing is terrible, and Clay does what he can to not think about it, wishing that someone would realise that there is a problem. Nothing shows up on the monitors, and the surgery continues as normal. Clay tries to move his mind elsewhere, and as a result has a clairvoyant experience. The journey that he undergoes starts off just fine and rapidly takes on an alarming tone. Lilith and Sam are at odds in the waiting room, and Lilith soon finds out that Sam and Clay have eloped, infuriating her some more. She detests Sam for swooping in and stealing her son. Nobody is telling the two what is going on in surgery, and Sam finally decides to go and find out what the status is. Instead of a regular request to a doctor, she heads straight into surgery, where Clay is aware of everything going on around him.

awake 2007 surgery
“Clay, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.” – Lilith Beresford

Will anyone realise that there is something wrong with Clay? Did he make the right choice when he insisted that Jack be his surgeon? Are Clay and Sam destined to spend their lives together? Will he survive the surgery and return to his wife? Will Sam and Lilith find a way to work out their differences for the sake of the man that they love? What are the experiences that Clay is having? Of the things that he is seeing, hearing and remembering, which ones are real?

I will give Awake a 6.5/10. This movie was recommended to me by a friend and then a colleague. I looked into it and I have to say it was pretty good. I enjoyed the concept (I mean who the hell wants to go for an op and be paralysed but totally aware?!) and I like Hayden Christensen, despite his unpopularity with so many people. In any event, I thought that was well done. Everything worked fine, though when he was put under and realised that he was awake Christensen didn’t sound even remotely convincing, but made up for it with how the story progressed. There were holes and the ending felt a little rushed and all. Lena Olin was pretty good as his overprotective and controlling mother. I would be terrified of an operation of that scale at any age. The twist that popped up may not have been revolutionary, but it worked very nicely and well here. If things couldn’t get worse for Clay, he had to think about that again. Terrence Howard was cool too, and I thought that the cast worked pretty well overall. The movie was sufficiently interesting to keep me watching and is worth checking out if you haven’t seen it. I had fun with it, and the director Joby Harold manages to keep things fresh and enjoyable with a decent concept, so well done for that, it doesn’t happen nearly often enough.